What Emergency Responders Face on the US-Mexico Border

Listen here to the interview for The Takeaway on PRI/WNYC/WGBH aired on November 20, 2018.

In 2017, 415 migrants died on the border, according to the International Organization for Migration. As of 2016, the U.S. Border Patrol employed more than 4,100 first responders, 730 emergency medical technicians and more than 70 paramedics. That response force is assisted by local fire departments, ambulances, and volunteers. 

Harvard professor Ieva Jusionyte has worked as an emergency responder in both northern Mexico and in southern Arizona while conducting fieldwork — and she says responders are often stretched thin. She compiled her research and experiences into a new book, “Threshold: Emergency Responders on the US-Mexico Border.”

How the U.S.-Mexico Border Became a Political Flashpoint (by John Donovan, HowStuffWorks)

"[The border] became this site, an object, a metaphor even, where we misplaced very real economic insecurities and social anxieties," Jusionyte says. "So it is the wrong answer to very important questions about the conditions of our society." 

Read the story here: https://history.howstuffworks.com/american-history/us-mexico-border-became-flashpoint.htm 

Research article "The Wall and the Wash" published in Anthropology Today

Based on ethnographic research with firefighters trained as EMTs (emergency medical technicians) or paramedics in northern Sonora and southern Arizona, this article in Anthropology Today takes the vantage point of emergency responders on both sides of the US-Mexico border to trace the harmful effects of the security assemblage on those who inhabit and trespass this militarized landscape. Interested in the materiality of security – how its discursive and affective qualities are anchored in urban and desert terrain by means of infrastructure and technology – this article focuses on two such ‘anchors’, the wall and the wash, in order to address the legal and ethical issues that result from the deployment of tactical infrastructure on the border.

Ieva Jusionyte: US, Mexico depend on each other in emergencies

When Republican presidential candidates talk about the U.S.-Mexico border, they emphasize the need to strengthen security by building a bigger wall, arguing that these measures would seal the country and prevent the movement of illicit drugs and unwanted people. Gov. Doug Ducey’s recent announcement of a Border Drug Strike Force also focuses on combating traffickers. What proponents of border fortification fail to understand is that in emergencies, such as wildland fires and chemical spills, communities in the southern fringe of this country rely on receiving help from Mexico. Instead of planning how to separate the U.S. from Mexico, it is in the government’s best interest to pass legislation that facilitates binational cooperation. Continue reading: http://tucson.com/news/opinion/column/ieva-jusionyte-us-mexico-depend-on-each-other-in-emergencies/article_935d39dd-0577-5bc9-8b5d-0aa12b1c8b5b.html


Interview about the project with infonogales.com


Publicado el noviembre 2, 2015 por infonogales.com 

Marco A. Flores
Nogales, Sonora.- Como ejemplar calificó la colaboración y trabajo realizado entre bomberos de la franja fronteriza de Sonora y Arizona, la profesora lituana Ieva Jusionyte, quien visitó Nogales como parte de un estudio para la elaboración de un libro, en la Universidad de Florida.

La maestra del Departamento de Antropología del Centro y Latinoamérica de la Universidad de Florida estuvo por periodo de dos semanas en esta frontera, con el propósito de estudiar la forma de trabajar de los bomberos en la región.

Dicha visita fue gracias una beca de una fundación nacional de ciencias, para escribir un libro sobre cooperación binacional de bomberos y de protección civil entre Sonora y Arizona.

Jusionyte dijo que empezó con su investigación desde mayo pasado, con visitas de varias semanas a los departamentos de bomberos en Nogales, Arizona, Arivaca, Río Rico, Suburban y terminó trabajando en Nogales, Sonora, con el apoyo del teniente Víctor Garay, del cuerpo “Gustavo L. Manríquez”.

Read more: http://infonogales.com/2015/11/02/ejemplar-trabajo-en-equipo-de-bomberos-fronterizos-entre-sonora-y-arizona-profesora-lituana/